Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Angle down icon An icon in the shape of an angle pointing down. Sony partnered with Nintendo to develop this prototype video game console, but the deal fell through. Heritage Auctions / HA.com In the early 1990s, Nintendo partnered with Sony to develop a new CD-ROM console and attachment for the Super Nintendo system, resulting in a prototype fans call the Nintendo PlayStation.Sony’s deal with Nintendo fell through, ultimately leading to the birth of Sony’s massive PlayStation brand.The only remaining Nintendo PlayStation prototype that’s been found intact is now up up for auction. The prototype is still capable of playing Super Nintendo cartridges, but no CD-ROM games were ever produced.The owner, Terry Diebold, told Kotaku he previously turned down an $1.2 million offer. Bidding on the Nintendo PlayStation prototype is now underway and will continue until the Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction in Dallas on March 6.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A doomed partnership between two of the biggest companies in the video game business gave birth to one of the most bizarre devices in gaming history — a rare console fans call the Nintendo PlayStation. After more than 25 years there’s only one known prototype of the Nintendo PlayStation left, and it’s currently up for auction.

In the early 1990s, Nintendo partnered with Sony to develop a new CD-ROM peripheral for the wildly popular Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

The SNES CD-ROM adapter, called the PlayStation, would stack on top of existing SNES consoles, and Sony planned to release a standalone version of the console as well. However, the relationship soured when Nintendo entered into a separate partnership with electronics giant Philips, Sony’s leading European competitor, in 1991.

Sony ultimately decided to ditch Nintendo and launch the PlayStation on its own — a decision that would completely change the course of the video game industry.

While the final product never hit store shelves, Sony reportedly manufactured about 200 Nintendo PlayStation prototypes. However, the prototype available for auction is the only known Nintendo PlayStation that’s still intact, and the owner told the video game outlet Kotaku that he’s already been offered as much as $1.2 million for this one-of-a-kind artifact.

The current bid is $31,000 as of February 13, with more than three weeks left in the auction. Potential buyers can set their maximum bid on the website to prevent late bidders from winning the Nintendo PlayStation in the final moments of the auction. Heritage Auctions will showcase the Nintendo PlayStation at Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction in Dallas on March 6, when the bidding process will end. 

The design of the Nintendo PlayStation looked much more modern than the standard Super Nintendo.

Heritage Auctions / HA.com

The incredibly rare video game console eventually resurfaced by chance, more than a decade after it was first produced.

Terry Diebold won the device in an auction when Advanta Corporation, his former employer, declared bankruptcy in 2009. Advanta was led by Olaf Olafsson, a former president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, who resigned in 1996. Olafsson was essential in helping Sony launching its own video game business and apparently hung onto one of the Nintendo PlayStation prototypes long after his tenure ended.

Terry Diebold told Engadget that he paid $75 for the bin containing the Nintendo PlayStation at the Advanta auction, but Terry and his son Dan Diebold had no idea how rare the prototype was. Eventually, Dan came across a Reddit post detailing the history of the Nintendo PlayStation, and he casually announced that the prototype was in his dad’s attic.

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